Future Living & Spaces

Can water engineering become Scania’s new area of advance?

Caroline Wendt
July 14, 2021

The research and innovation council in Scania (FIRS) invited different stakeholders to the webinar “Aqua Network Skåne” which aims to stimulate sustainable growth and innovations in the area of water. Representatives of municipalities, cities, industry and innovation clusters joined the webinar. They quickly recognized that Scania has good starting conditions and important reasons to initiate collaboration for the development of our water use. Already towards the end of the meeting the group had several concrete ideas on how to continue the work.

Ola Hansson and Maria Sätherstrom Lantz at WIN hosted the FIRS webinar Aqua Network Skåne. WIN is an innovation platform that aims to accelerate the development of a sustainable society. The topic of water receives particular attention. WIN united many different actors such as large-scale industry, politicians, academy and innovators to understand each other’s challenges and needs, enabling them to find synergies.

Ola Hansson och Maria Sätherström Lantz på WIN.

Mikael Kipowski is the director of development in Helsingborg  as well as Chairman for FIRS area of Smart and Sustainable Cities.

– We want to find Scanias areas of advance and turn them into innovations to build a really smart city. We have identified water and water innovation as one of the areas with large potential. If we successfully coordinate and enable organisations, entrepreneurs and innovators within the domain of water then we can create the best conditions for innovation in the area of sustainable growth.

Maria Tuszynski, from Region Skåne and FIRS, explained that FIRS is an organisation that can work both with challenges that require fast decision-making, for example crises in smart sustainable cities, and with long term processes to assess Scania’s possibilities.  

– FIRS can for example contribute with leading the process of joint project applications, be responsible for analyses and communication, give an overview of the area and identify questions that can be interesting on the short- and on the long term, says Maria.

Kenneth M Persson, professor of Technical water resource engineering at LTH and Head of Research at Sydvatten, talked about the importance of positioning Scania as a future growth industry in the field of water.  

–  One aspect that makes Scania a suitable place to take the lead in the water sector is that Scania has large streams in its landscape, with the exception of the Helge stream which comes from Småland. All the water that rains down in Scania also moves in Scania. There are good possibilities for the region and the county administrative board to create consensus. I would like to see that a water plan is being produced under the direction of FIRS where the municipalities and the region work together for more efficient water usage.

During the meeting three workshops were hold: Developments in the housing sector (IoT and water smart homes), an attractive vicinity (recirculation for resilience, local, regional and globally) as well as Scania – world leading water node and hub for WaterKIC?

The question of water in close proximity showed to be the most complex as actors have very different incitements. How can we evaluate good water levels next to the need of using the land for more housing? Different perspectives were present during the work with the real estate sector. One such example is the question of how a new infrastructure can be built in the housing sector and in society. It was also discussed how smart solutions could be quickly integrated in the housing today. One hope for the future is that apartments which live up to certain environmental standards can be watermarked.

Several participants signaled interest to be part of a WaterKIC during the workshop. Kenneth M Persson is in charge of the groups continuing collaboration. The group also started to work around recruiting more actors and contacts that could be of help on the road to an application.

– To make an application is a good way to get actors together, regional needs and possibilities - even if the application is not accepted, says Per-Arne Nilsson strategist at the Environmental Department in Malmö.

In 2022 Helsingborg is going to host H22 City Expo, an international city fair for a smarter and more sustainable city. Both the fair and IWA’s world water congress in Copenhagen that same year are seen as important sub goals to the Scanian water efforts.

At the end of the meeting Peter Kisch, FIRS and Future by Lund, summarized a few important points for future collaborative work.

* Creating a water strategy or water plan where the region, municipalities and industry work together.

* Map different labs, testbeds and innovation resources so that more people have access to these and the results from different projects.

* Different actors such as municipalities, industry, real estate and farmers need a detailed plan about how they shall work with water in relation to digitalisation.

* Better external monitoring and better stocktaking of Scania’s strengths.

* A better outlook to assess which other regions Scania can connect to, both in terms of learning and help companies.

* How do we create volume? It is good to have new built quarters such as H22 and Brunnshög? We will need to think about different things that can be done short and long term.

* To make an application for a WaterKIC implies to do campaign work and have campaign staff. Many of the solutions lie at the intersection of different actors. The solutions need to be coordinated and who pays for that?

Translated by Christin Scheller


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